Thursday, October 31, 2013

Please Stop Rating Asians, Dad

Chicago Trip: Part V of V

You're sad, I know. So am I. I've been writing about Chicago for the past four posts, but just as that trip met its end, so must this. I have no choice but to go back to writing about my everyday life: those unyielding yearnings for Nicolas Cage furniture, those paranoid feelings I'm being stalked by homeless hipsters, those 2am discoveries that I'm being sexually assaulted by my cat, and those constant refusals of all the Jews my local gas station's employees like to offer me. Alas, my days of adventure are over.

...but that's not until tomorrow.

"DAD. Go. Lie. DOWN," my father said to his father, who had just accidentally stepped on his head.

"Oh calm down!" my grandfather responded. "I didn't see your head there!"

"You stepped on my head on purpose," my dad retaliated.

"Well where else am I supposed to walk when you're lying in a sleeping bag on the floor?!"

"What could you have possibly needed from the far corner of the bedroom?"

"I needed to check the AC! Natasha said it was too hot in here!"

"Dad, just go lie down," my father said, lifting his head from the floor. "And for God's sake, pull up your pants. They're down to your knees."

"I can't find my belt. JOANN! I CAN'T FIND MY BELT!"

"It's on the desk," my grandmother responded.

"Be nice to me, son," my grandfather said as he reached for his belt. "I could be gone by November 11th."

"What!" I said, looking to my grandmother for an explanation.

"Ohhhh, don't listen to him," she said. "His surgery is on November 11th, but it's not a dangerous one."

"HA!" my grandfather laughed as he leaned over to me. "Listen, Natasha. This is important. They take a ROD, shove it up your PENIS, and SCRAMBLE AROUND in your BALLS ---"

"Ken!" my grandmother said, putting her hand over his mouth. "That's enough."

"Katrina!" I shouted as she entered the room. "Where WERE you?"

"I went down to the hotel's fitness room to run...why are you laughing so hard?"

"You missed Papa Ken's important information about his...his...AHAHAHAHAHA!"

"Wow," she said. "I must have really missed something funny. What is it! TELL ME."


"Okay," my dad said rising from his danger zone of a bed. "It is impossible to nap when I keep hearing you guys talk about Ken's balls."

"He's right, everyone," my grandmother said. "Let's try and be quiet so your dad can rest."

"I bet I can guess the circumference of your thigh," my grandfather said to my sister. "25! No...22! Well? Am I right?"

"I don't know," my sister said.


"I have no idea what the circumference of my thigh is."

"What's yours, Natasha? WAIT LET ME GUESS!"

"DAD!" my dad shouted at my grandfather. "BE QUIET."

A few hours later, it was time for dinner. We had reservations at an Asian restaurant that was located inside a hotel a few blocks from our own. We took a cab over and entered a red and yellow room that had calm, oriental music playing in the background and Asian waiters everywhere. We sat down and one of them approached our table.

server: What can I get you all to drink?

grandfather: (suddenly pulling out a one dollar bill and waving it slowly in the air) Do you have Coca-Cola?

server: (glancing at the dollar bill being waved in front of him) ...Yes, sir.

grandfather: (using his dollar bill to point at the server) I'll have that, please.

server: Yes, sir. (walks off)

me: Why were you waving that dollar bill at him?! You looked like you were trying to bribe him for some Coca-Cola!

grandfather: (suddenly realizing he is holding a dollar bill in the air) Ha ha ha! I didn't even notice I was doing that! Yeah, big bribe, huh? One whole dollahhhhh.

me: Why do you even have that out?

grandfather: OH - I remember now. I was gonna SAY, I'll give you this dollar ask our server where he's from.

me: DEAL!

grandmother: No, don't do that, Ken! That's rude.

grandfather: How is it rude! I don't think it's rude. Do you think it's rude?

me: No, I don't think it's rude.

my sister: It's rude.

dad: Of course it's rude.

grandfather: (leaning over the table to whisper to me and my sister) Here's the plan: I'm gonna tell your father I want to show him something outside. Then when we walk out, you ask the guy where he's from. Got it?

me: Got it.

dad: I didn't even realize they had a patio! I'm gonna go check it out real quick.

grandfather: Oh, shit, that's my cue! (jumping up from chair) I'LL COME OUTSIDE WITH YOU!

server: Would you like more water, miss?

me: Yes, please. Where are you from?

server: Me?

me: (realizing I could have been a little more smooth about it) Yeah.

server: My parents are from Mexico.

me: Oh, nice!

server: Yes. (walks away)

grandpa: (walking back in) Well? Did you find out? Do you have witnesses?

me: Yes. I asked him and Katrina saw.

my sister: She asked him. I saw.

me: He's from Mexico.

grandfather! I KNEW IT!

dad: DAD. No yelling in the restaurant.

grandfather: You're just mad cause I was RIGHT! I knew he wasn't Asian. It's that NOSE!

dad: DAD.

grandmother: Ken, you need to stop.

grandfather: Stop what!

grandmother: Yelling about people's noses.

me: Can I have my dollar now?

grandfather: Yeah. Katrina gets a dollar, too. For being the witness.

my sister: Niiiiice!

grandfather: I KNEW he wasn't Asian! Look. Here's how it goes: Top Three. (holds out hand and starts counting on his fingers) ONE, Japs. TWO, Chinese. THREE, Kore---

dad: Please stop rating Asians, Dad.

grandfather: WHAT? I didn't say anything bad about them! I'm COMPLIMENTING THEM. The Japs are top of my lis---

grandmother: Ken, will you stop it! (pulling my grandfather's hand down) 

dad: (trying not to laugh) Girls.

me and my sister: (not trying not to laugh) HAHAHAHA!

dad: Everyone else here is trying to have a peaceful dinner. They don't want to hear about Ken's collection of Asians.

grandfather: (while all of us start laughing) THAT'S IT, SON! You're on my list!

dad: Your list? Your list of what? Asians?

grandfather: My. List.

After a satisfying dinner (all except for some mysterious purple goop our server called "the nest" that looked and tasted like toe jam), we exited the restaurant up a red-carpeted staircase and stopped at the top so my dad could take some pictures of us.

"Here, son!" my grandfather said after my dad snapped our picture. "Let me take the next one so you can be in it."

"Great!" my dad said as he handed my grandfather the camera. "Just press that button."

We all posed and waited. And waited. And waited.

"Come on, Dad, just press the button," my father said to my grandfather.


"Just press the button."


"Just press the button, Dad."


Five minutes later, the camera flashes.

"GOT IT!" my grandfather shouted triumphantly.

"Great, let's see it!" said my dad, walking over and grabbing the camera. "Dad. This is a picture of your thumb. You put your thumb right over the lens."

"We can probably just get someone who works here to take a photo," said my sister.

"Alright," said my dad. "I think we just need to go down this elevator and we'll be in the lobby."

We ride down the elevator. The doors open. We're back in the restaurant, right where we had started.

"Well this just keeps getting more and more embarrassing."

"Let's get outta here!" my dad laughs as the hoard of Asian servers stare at us quizzically. He then began to run.

We all followed.

 The next morning was our last day, which we just spent walking around town, talking and laughing at each other. (I also watched a half-naked homeless man do chin-ups from the branches of a tree and then watch his nipples as he flexed his pecks to make them bounce, but something about that just isn't as sentimental as spending time with family.) I always look forward to these family vacations, and I'm always sad when they come to an end.

Disclaimer: No Asians were hurt in the making of this post. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Who's Feeding Gilbert Grapes?

Chicago Trip: Part IV of V

On Saturday, my dad and grandparents left early, fully clad in their red and gold attire, to attend the USC game where their favorite college football team would be playing Notre Dame. (This game was the reason why the five of us had all flown out to Chicago, in case any of you were wondering how two San Pedro residents, two Chattanooga residents, and one Nashville resident all decided to have their annual family vacation in a state where none of them lived.) My sister and I know nothing about football, so we were given the entire day and night to explore the Windy City ourselves.

"What do you wanna do today?" my sister asked me as we lounged around our hotel room, eating handfuls of licorice from the Ziploced-stash my grandparents had brought.

"Eh, doesn't matter to me," I shrugged. "I figured we'd just wing it."

"Okay," my sister said casually, which completely contradicted the fact that she had just whipped out a paper map covered in location labels written in her handwriting. In Waffle House terms, this map was smothered, covered, and chunked.

" some...ideas?" I asked.

"Yeah. A few."

"Well then, let's do it!"

"Are you sure there's nowhere specific you want to go?"

"Nope, I'm just happy to explore! OH - there is one place I'd like to go."

"Okay! Where?!"




"Out of all the potential vacation destinations, you want to go to Walgreens."

"I need to get a disposable camera. Plus, the Walgreens here are so different! They have revolving doors."

"Then first we'll go to Walgreens, and then I thought we could do some shopping downtown, stop and get coffee, and then head to The Art Institute of Chicago."

"Is that a children's psych ward?"

"It's a museum, Natasha."

"I was kidding."

"No you weren't."

"Okay I wasn't."

Stop #1 - Walgreens

"Look, Katrina! They have Shaq Soda!"

"Let's get a couple Red Bulls."

"And they have Swedish Fish!"

"They have those in Tennessee, Natasha."

"Yeah, and here!"

"...I'll be in the check-out line."

Stop #2 - Park Bench

me: Red Bull was a great idea.

my sister: Yeah, that walk wore me out.

me: We can people-watch until we finish these and then head to the museum, yeah?

12-year-old boy: (jumping over a crack in the sidewalk) PARKOUR!

me and my sister: ...

12-year-old boy: (shouting at his group of friends) Look, guys! (slams his hands into grass and then leaps up) PARKOUR!

me and my sister: ...

12-year-old boy: (hops off of sidewalk and then back onto sidewalk) Now that was PARKOUR!

me: Damn, the boy is leaving. Well. Shall we go now?

my sister: Wait, I think he's about to do one more.

12-year-old boy: (doing absolutely nothing) PARKOUR!

my sister: Alright, let's go.

Stop #3 - Art Museum

my sister: This place is HUGE! I had no idea it would be this big...

me: Where should we even start?

my sister: I guess in this room over here...ancient Greek sculptures.

me: (looking around) Why are all their man-parts missing? Where have all the penises gone?

my sister: They didn't have penises back then.

me: "Butt" they did have other things...

my sister: All the women's bodies are so much heavier than the men's...

me: Yeah, I noticed that. The women are kinda flabby but all the men have six-packs.

my sister: Looks like he was feeding her grapes.

me: What's this room? Colonial paintings?

my sister: Early American portraits.


my sister: I think that's supposed to be a woman...

me: That is most definitely a man.

my sister: Is that a man in woman's clothes?

me: That is absolutely a man in woman's clothes. Who also resembles Nic Cage.

my sister: It does sorta look like him...

me: WHAT IF...there was a museum just for Nic Cage pictures? A whole collection of Cage's face on other things...just imagine.

my sister: I'm not going to imagine that. I'm too confused by this painting right now. I just don't think they were painting trannies in the 18th century.

me: But somebody was. This tranny may have been the rebellious leader of an underground cult of 18th century transvestites. Or maybe even the early muse of Aerosmith.

Dude looks like a lady.

my sister: Let's move on to something else. There are Native American portraits over there...ha! This guy's name is Homo!

me: (strolling over to where my sister stood) Haha, look! This guy's name is Homo!

my sister: I seriously JUST said that.

me: Did you really? I didn't even hear you! God, I hope no one else heard us. We probably sound like Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum.

my sister: I wanna find the Picasso.

me: There's a Picasso painting here?!

my sister: I'm not sure. Dad said there was, but the pamphlet lists all the museum's most famous pieces under, "What to See In an Hour" and Picasso isn't on it.

me: Then they don't have a Picasso.

my sister: I really think they have a Picasso!

me: There's a lot of ass here, but no Pic-ass.

my sister: ...

me: Yeah that was terrible. I guess the Red Bull hasn't kicked in yet. Bad joke aside, they don't have a Picasso.

Stop #4 - Hotel Room

my sister: I'm hungry.

me: I'm starving. Ooh! Let's order delivery!

my sister: YES. Will you turn on the TV?

me: (running my hands along the television screen) I don't feel any buttons...where's the remote?

my sister: I'll look for it --- why are you on the hotel phone? Who are you calling?

me: We need to figure out how to turn on the television!

my sister: Natasha, I can probably find the remote in two seconds. Do NOT call and ask them ---

me: Yes, hi. How do you turn on the TV?

front desk man: Uhhh...

my sister: I found the remote.

me: Nevermind! We figured it out!

front desk man: You had me a bit taken aback there. Is there anything else I can help you with, ma'am?

me: Nope! Thanks!

my sister: Did you order drinks with our food?

me: I figured it'd be cheaper to just get some from the vending machines in the lobby.

my sister: They don't have vending machines in the lobby.

me: WHAT? Well, no worries.

my sister: You're calling again? What are you even going to say? They don't even have a bar in this hotel. We can't ---

me: Yes, hi, it's me again. Um, so, you don't have any vending machines?

front desk man: No, ma'am, I'm sorry.

me: No problem! Um, do you know how I could get a drink?

front desk man: What exactly are you looking for?

me: Anything really.

front desk man: I'm sure we can work something out.

me: Th --- he hung up on me!

my sister: Probably because you called asking how to watch TV and how to get water.

me: I never said 'water.'

my sister: You said anything. That includes water.

(knock knock knock!)

me: I'll get it.

hotel employee: Two Coca-Colas for you, miss!

me: Wow! Thanks! Uh... (realizing I have no cash on me to tip) ...yeah, thanks a whole bunch! (closes door)

my sister: Wow, they actually brought us drinks!

me: YES! I'm so thirsty! I --- FUCK!

my sister: What?

me: They're warm.

my sister: Then go get ice from the ice machine in the lobby.

me: There is no ice machine in the lobby.

my sister: Then how do we get ice?


my sister: They hate us.

me: They do not hate us.

my sister: They hate us.

me: Yes, hi, SORRY I keep, how do I get ice? Cause I can get it, you know. I don't want to make you guys get ---

front desk man: We'll send someone up, ma'am. (click!)

me: They hate us.

(knock knock knock!)

me: Hi!

hotel guy: You wanted ice?

me: Yep!

hotel guy: ...

me: ...

hotel guy: ...

me: ...

hotel guy: May I...have...your ice bucket, please?

me: OH right right right second. (runs and gets ice bucket)

hotel guy: That is a bowl, ma'am.

me: A BOWL, right right right, yes it is, isn't it UH...

hotel guy: The ice bucket is a silver pail that should be located beside your restroom.

me: RIGHT of course, silver, right, got second. (runs and gets what better be the fucking ice bucket)

hotel guy: Thank you, ma'am. I'll return shortly with your ice.

me: (closing door) OH MY GOD.

my sister: Why were you running around grabbing different bowls?

me: Fuck the ice man. Hey do you have a dollar so I can tip him?

my sister: Yeah, here. Is one enough?

me: I don't one enough?

my sister: Oh shit, I thought I had more ones. That's all I got. One will have to be enough.

(knock knock knock!)

me: (opening door) HEY!

hotel guy: Your ice, ma'am.

me: THANKS! And uh, It's a dollar. One dollar. That's all I have. One. I'm sorry. Errr. THANKS FOR THE ICE! (closes door)

my sister: I don't think yelling at people makes them think more highly of you.

me: It's a defense mechanism. I can't help it.

my sister: So what are we gonna watch?

me: I have Once Upon a Time on Netflix...

my sister: Is that the show you're obsessed with?

me: Maybe...

my sister: Yeah let's watch it! Let me just look this up real quick.

me: What're you looking up?

my sister: The art museum. I'm seeing what we missed.

me: We were there for two hours. There's no way we missed anything. We ---

my sister: (gasp!)

me: What? What is it? Do I need to call the front desk again?

my sister: They have a Picasso.

Disclaimer: Despite their five-star performance, the front desk was not able to acquire the Picasso.